I was appointed a page for the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Jamie Whitten, whose head secretary, Ann Watson, lived a few doors down from us in Arlington and was one of my mother’s best friends. I drove to the Capitol with her every morning (Monday through Friday). I only served for five weeks but what a five weeks! It was October 1968. Here are some of my fragmented memories (please correct them if they aren’t quite right):
I remember seeing Jerry Rubin carrying a toy M-14 machine gun in the Cannon building, while waiting to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
I remember doing an all-niter at the Capitol as the Democrats sought to bring to vote a bill related to the Presidential debates and the Republicans sought to block it by repeatedly calling for quorum calls. In order to maintain a quorum, Speaker McCormack ordered the sergeant of arms to lock the House Chamber. Congressmen jimmied the doors of the cloakrooms and sneak out (at least that’s what they did on the Democratic side; I didn’t witness what the Republicans were doing in their cloakroom).
I remember carrying a watermelon to some congressman on behalf of the Doorkeeper of the House, Fishbait Miller.
I remember how the pages loved to have runs to the office of Congressman Gray from Illinois because he had former Playboy Playmates as his secretaries. I had at least one run to Gray’s office. Sheer joy!
I remember riding down an elevator with Senator Ted Kennedy.
I remember riding up an escalator while Senator Everett Dirksen rode down the other one.
Most of all, I remember loving every day of service. I was only 16 years old, yet here I was–a page in the House of Representatives!